A city manager in Ashland, Ky., explored legal options for shutting down car wash businesses after a water main leak left many residents there without water. Only the state government, it turns out, has the authority to force businesses to close. Despite it, the city manager is urging residents not to get their cars washed and spoke of growing discontent among residents, local media reported.

“We continue to tell people to avoid that type of thing (washing cars). We ask them, as a good community partner, to patriciate with us to conserve water,” City Manager Ben Bitter told the local newspaper, The Independent. He added that “there’s a little part of the inner child in all of us to want to grab a snowball and throw it at them” for getting their cars washed.

He also said he has spoken with several car wash owners about closing up shop as long as water is short. According to The Independent:

He did say that he understood that for some the car washes was also their livelihood and that many other businesses also have a need for water. Ideal weather conditions also made it a near-perfect day for washing the car under normal situations. Conservation of water, he said, is the key.

This story out of Kentucky comes as the situation in California becomes even more dire. Reservoirs are completely dry there, and rain has still not come. Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, from which runoff typically supplies water for the state later in the year, has reached historical lows. Many there have seen professional car washes as preferable to washing cars at home; car wash businesses are more efficient, according to the International Carwash Association.

For more tips on how to respond to questions about car washing in droughts, see our previous post about the California drought.